Here at Baseball Prospectus, we are dedicated to providing you with oodles of cutting-edge sabermetric analysis and keeping our finger on the pulse of the baseball world. With a slew of daily articles, it’s easy for one piece to get lost in the shuffle or for you to overlook a post while you’re busy hiding your monitor from your boss. Just in case this happens to be your situation, here’s what you might have missed this week at BP.
- You’d be pardoned for confusing the Rockies and the Yankees over the winter; Colorado doled out massive extensions to several franchise cornerstones and racked up a hefty off-season bill. Will the spending spree keep the Rockies as high atop the NL West as a towering drive hit at Coors without the humidor? As John Perrotto discovers, those caught up in the Rocky Mountain high believe so.
- After being treated to a NL rookie class featuring phenoms like Buster Posey and Jason Heyward last year, there has been a noticeable star power outage in this year’s bulbs. Marc Normandin notes the depleted talent pool, where guys like Freddie Freeman and Brandon Belt will have to do the heavy lifting.
- So the closers in the NL Central may be riding an off-kilter carousel—that doesn’t mean that everything has been so awful with the division’s clubs. Hey, even the Pirates are still in it. The dawn of the season has brought some interesting returns, and Larry Granillo troops through some of them, including the un-Pujolsian showing by Albert Pujols.
- “He didn’t go around,” Joe Buck deadpans in his latest comatose broadcast. “Look at his elbows and the head of the bat. They didn’t cross home plate.” We in the peanut gallery love to call out the umpires for missing calls, but how well do we know the rulebook? David Laurila tracks down Charlie Reliford, a major-league umpire for 19 years, to explain the check swing and infield fly rule.
- Yeah, it’s April, but that means the Mets are already out of the chase for the NL East. (Want proof? Check the NL Hit List.) The team’s beat writers are already bandying trade rumors about, with most believing Jose Reyes to be the player who would garner the most interest. Steve Goldman relates the current state of the Mets to “The Midnight Massacre” of 1977 and explains the implications of New York dealing its shortstop.
- Most teams would kill for a backstop that hits, and the San Francisco Giants have one of the brightest newcomers in Buster Posey. However, though Posey is the catcher people actually remember, most of the NL West receivers have gotten off to a hot start. Sure, it’s small sample size silliness, but Geoff Young tracks each catcher in the NL West and tries to determine whether the hitting will continue or if we will soon see a bunch of Wil Nieves types behind the dish.
- No more will we see Manny Ramirez take a route to a ball with more twists and turns than Sherlock Holmes, nor will we see him go into a full-extension dive to cut off the cut-off man; the slugger retired last week amid allegations of a second violation of MLB’s steroid policy. His departure likely leaves Yankees pitchers breathing a sigh of relief, but in Tampa, the Rays’ lack of depth was revealed. However, they’re not the only team lacking depth. Ben Kabak examines each AL East team’s major weaknesses.
- Despite the more recent flurry of signings of Japanese players, baseball has had its arms extended to the South Pacific for over 100 years. Michael Street delves into the history books to find the origins of the market for Japanese players, the posting system, and the outcomes of early Asian signings.
- Andy Pettitte was famous for his deadly pickoff move, but many fans would scream “BALK!” as yet another baserunner was caught napping. How did Dandy Andy get away with his slick step? David continues his conversation with Reliford, this time chatting about what constitutes a balk and a catch.
- When a team is trailing by a significant margin, they tend to pull some of the regulars and allow the bench guys some playing time. However, the team on the other end of the field is still kicking it and can sometimes stage an dramatic comeback in the ninth inning. Jeremy Greenhouse spins through some of baseball’s most improbable comebacks through the Win Probability lens.
- While baseball fans get to listen to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver bleat play-by-play action on the Saturday game of the week, MLB Network is stocked with former players eager to talk about baseball and how to measure heart. The Funckiest guy on staff discusses MLB Network’s anchor personalities, the Hall of Fame chances of several players, and the potential of a couple players during his BP chat.
- Analysts will always tell you that it’s just a week’s worth of games; you can’t set much store by what has occurred in seven days. Yet, as Joey Matschulat says, there are times when what happens over the course of the week that do matter, like a star player getting injured or a youngster getting locked into a long-term deal.
- When Cliff Lee shunned a commitment to the city that never sleeps, Yankees president Randy Levine decided the best way to fix a gap in the rotation was to fill out the bullpen, and thus inked Rafael Soriano to a three-year, $35 million deal. However, as Tommy Bennett writes, teams that neglect holes in their starting rotation to stock the ‘pen are doing themselves a disservice.
- The Bombers also grabbed reliever Pedro Feliciano off the free-agent market over the winter, but now they may have to wait until next year to play with their new toy: He has a torn capsule in his shoulder and may have season-ending surgery. But he’s not the only guy ailing; the rest of the Yankees’ bullpen is banged up, Joe Mauer has a leg injury, and fireballing Aroldis Chapman is coping with arm trouble. Corey Dawkins and Marc run through the latest bumps and bruises that have some teams sending out an S.O.S.
- Josh Beckett was acquired by the Red Sox to solidify their rotation, but since signing on for four more years in Boston last season, he has ceded his ace status and bombed in the rotation. John discovers that Beckett, now the Red Sox' fourth starter, just wants to be a part of the winning equation in Beantown.
Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, takes in a few ballgames, and maybe even ventures out into the sunlight. See you Monday!
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